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“Take five!” the director calls.There’s a break in the action before filming continues.

Lights come on in the concert hall. “Intermission will be 15 min-

utes,” a pleasant voice announces. Concert-goers rush to wash- rooms, chat with acquaintances or purchase a beverage. “And now a word from our sponsor,” the newscaster says. Commercials provide a marketing opportunity or a chance for the viewer to check email. In parenting also, breaks serve several purposes. When a par- ent-child argument begins to escalate into a shouting match, a cool- down break can allow both participants to emotionally recalibrate. Once a child has begun yelling, pacing or thrashing on the floor, the brain is in “fight or flight mode,” and further discussion is futile.Take a break.

Remember how it feels when you walk through the door at home after a hard day at work and are immediately besieged by your spouse wanting to tell you about all the phone messages you need to return, your child begging to go to a sleep-over, and your dog barking and jumping on you in a hyperkinetic frenzy of excitement? Don’t you just want to scream, “Give me five” and spray yourself with Cling Free?

Children and parents alike often benefit from transitional breaks

JOIN US IN JANUARY! Offering private music lessons for ages 5 to adult in most instruments including guitar and voice and the following group programs in the new year:

• Sing & Play - Wed. classes for ages 2-6 • Little Harps - Tues. ages 6-9 • Youth Choir - Wed. 4-5 pm, Ages 7-16 • Intro to Violin - Mon. Ages 6-9

• Royal Conservatory Theory - Mon. - Thurs.

For more program details go online:

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between activities or settings. How does it feel to a child to walk through the door after a hard day at school only to be greeted by a parent yelling, “Hurry, hurry, hurry, grab your hockey gear.We’re going to be late?”No wonder he snarls, “Back off!” It’s all downhill from there. We live in a hurry-up world under the tyranny of clocks, instant messaging, always-on cellphones, fast-food and GPS tracking. Parenting on the fly can be nerve-wracking.When multi-tasking is the norm, no task, no conversation, no relationship gets 100 per cent attention.The electronically always-connected family is some- times disconnected from itself. Slow down. Take three deep, slow breaths. Look in your child’s eyes and say

what’s in your heart. No, don’t text it; say it. Lasting relationships are still formed slowly over time. Take a break to recollect what you love most about each family member. Shuffle slowly through your mental slide show of special moments with each. Remember when… Take a break to notice. What is your spouse wearing this morning? What words does

your son use to describe how he feels as he tells you that he did- n’t make the team? What does his body language tell you that his words may not? What conversational topics bring a spontaneous smile to your daughter’s face? Take a break to reconnect. Can you invest a slow 15 minutes for yoga or to listen with re-


laxed attention to a favourite piece of music and reconnect with your calm centre? Can you spare 20 undistracted minutes of “floor- time” playing with your baby? What about taking a few minutes to enjoya calming cup of chamomile tea with your spouse after the kids are in bed? It’s about time to savour the moment. Pamela Kemp is a family intervention specialist with The Bridge outh and Family Services Society.

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